Crows obliterate Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crows obliterate Bombers

By Daniel Brettig 05/09/2009 05:08:59 AM Comments (0)

Premiership smokey Adelaide made an unmistakable statement of intent with a 96-point obliteration of a wholehearted Essendon in the first AFL elimination final at AAMI Stadium.

The Bombers gave their all but were overwhelmed by the Crows 26.10 (166) to 10.10 (70) in front of 50,393 spectators.

The Crows have voiced plenty of desire to become the first club from outside the top four to make a serious tilt at the flag since the current finals system was implemented and they showed it on Friday night.

It was Adelaide's most emphatic finals win, surpassing the 83-point defeat of local rivals Port Adelaide in 2005, and Essendon's worst September defeat, outdoing a 94-point loss to Geelong in the 1989 preliminary final.

Essendon stayed in touch until the first change, before a barnstorming eight-goal second term by Adelaide all but decided the outcome and allowed nervy home supporters to relax as they drank in the club's first finals win since 2006.

Most played a part in the slaughter for Adelaide; Bernie Vince (10 clearances), Jason Porplyzia (five goals) Kurt Tippett (four), Brett Burton (four), Scott Thompson, Brad Symes and Ivan Maric (28 hit-outs) among the more conspicuous.

Vince's efforts were particularly noteworthy as he was repeatedly targeted for heavy physical contact throughout but refused to shirk.

Michael Doughty shutdown Jobe Watson, the Bombers' one-man engine room, and veteran Andrew McLeod continued the sparkling run of form he has sustained for more than a month.

Back-up ruckman James Sellar was helped from the field after a suffering a sickening accidental knee to the head by Jason Winderlich in the third quarter, but returned in time to kick the final goal of the night.

Even after that, the Bombers were seriously under-sized, and supporters will puzzle over the late omission of ruckman Tom Bellchambers in the minutes prior to the bounce.

Brent Stanton, Mark McVeigh, Courtney Dempsey and Adam McPhee (four goals) battled manfully against a raging tide of Crows.

Few would have thought it possible for Essendon to be any more undermanned on the night than they were without Matthew Lloyd and Paddy Ryder, but shortly before the first bounce they made the curious decision to omit Bellchambers for Irishman Michael Quinn.

Essendon's run and intent posed early trouble for Adelaide, who gifted the visitors their first goal when runner Kris Hinck ran across the mark.

The Crows' height advantage soon resulted in a vast hit-out differential but the Bombers were winning more of the ball on the ground to be just six points down at the change - their aggression had caught the home side on the hop.

Neil Craig's quarter-time address was fiery and his players responded in kind upon the resumption to take control.

For all their endeavour the Bombers were soon sinking under the weight of pressure brought to bear by Adelaide, and Porplyzia, Tippett and Patrick Dangerfield all notched majors to establish a four-goal break.

The second half turned into a procession, Adelaide's dominance in attack compounded by a string of errors from the over-worked Essendon defence, who found it nigh impossible to breach a finely tuned zone.

Adelaide now advance to a Saturday night semi-final against the loser of the qualifying final between St Kilda and Collingwood.

They will fancy their chances.

Essendon coach Matthew Knights labelled the thumping defeat "unacceptable", but said the experience would prove invaluable for his young side.

"Tonight was unacceptable and really disappointing," Knights said.

"But I think we are building a reasonable foundation as a club."

Knights rated making the playoffs "a decent achievement" but said Adelaide taught his side a lesson in finals football.

"Adelaide were very very sharp, their skills were immaculate, their goal kicking ... was amazing for a night game," he said.

"They just taught us a valuable lesson in hitting the body and hitting targets."

Craig said he was delighted by how his players had handled the occasion.

"I enjoyed the way the players handled huge expectations tonight," he said.

"From a game point of view I just liked the pressure we put on all night."

Vince was reported for wrestling Mark McVeigh in the final term.

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